Battle Against Excess – Watch the Waste

By on September 1, 2013

What color are Christians? I bet “green” wasn’t the first color that popped into your mind. But maybe it should be.

I’ve never considered myself an environmentalist. Partly because I’ve linked environmental causes with liberal values and partly because I’ve gone through life with blinders on, not realizing the impact my consumption has on God’s creation.

However, in recent months, two things have prompted me to revaluate my thinking and behavior. The first is my oldest daughter. With her own family and home, Kelley gardens, composts, uses cloth diapers, and more. Her motivation is a mix of saving money, staying healthy, and caring for the planet. Sadly, I didn’t teach her any of these things.

The second thing that’s impacted my thinking is “The 7 Experiment” by Jen Hatmaker. In Week 6, Hatmaker establishes a sobering case for Christians to be leading the way in environmental matters. She lays out truth from Scripture, horrendous facts about the impact our consumption is having on the earth, and practical ways we can lesson our “footprint.”

Some Shocking Facts

Why should we care? Hatmaker shares some startling statistics:

  1. More than ¾ of the world’s people live in nations that are ecological debtors, where national consumption has outstripped their country’s biological capacity.
  2. Current human demands on the world’s natural resources exceeds its regenerative capacity by 30%.
  3. China and American combined account for 40% of the earth’s depletion.
  4. If we continue at the rate we’re going, by the mid 2030’s we’ll need the equivalent of two planets to maintain our lifestyle.

The Sober Truth

While we may not agree with every issue that falls under the environmental umbrella, I dare say most Christians can agree with this:

The earth belongs to God. “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” (Psalm 24:1). He allows us to use it and enjoy it. But as His children, we must respect it and care for it in a way that protects and preserves it for the generations coming after us.

I’m not telling you to eat only what you grow or not to flush the “yellow water.” But I do think we should all educate ourselves on the impact our consumption has on God’s earth and seriously consider how even small changes can make a difference.

For instance, as I did a little research for this post, I came across a video on TheGreenChristian.org about bottled water. I learned these shocking facts:

  • In just the U.S. alone, we use a ½ billion water bottles every week.
  • Every year in the U.S., plastic water bottle production uses enough oil to fuel 1 million cars.
  • Eighty percent of these bottles end up in landfills or incinerators.
  • One third of bottled water is filtered tap water.
  • Bottled water costs 2,000 times more than tap water.

I have a confession to make. I have been contributing to the problem. And not just because I’ve bought lots of bottled water over the years. I’ve harmed God’s creation in other ways.

The following quote from Jenn Hatmaker sums it up nicely and calls us to action:

“I’m perplexed by the cynical dismissal of creation care by Christians who, according to our Bible, should be stewarding, valuing, and protecting this beautiful planet God took such great pains with.”

Time for a Change

It’s time for me to make some changes. But I don’t want to simply “fast” something for 7 days and then slip back into old habits. God has urged me to make two permanent changes instead. They may seem like small things, but they will mean big change for me.

  • Bottled Water – I will stop regularly buying bottled water and instead fill reusable bottles with our perfectly good tap water.
  • Shopping Bags – I will keep cloth shopping bags in my car and actually take them into the store instead of using the plastic bags because they are convenient.

I realize these are just two small changes, but it’s a beginning. I’m not done yet! And these two areas are some of my greatest “consumption” areas.

Now what about you? What change may God be leading you to make in your life. Here are a few suggestions, some from Hatmaker and some from me. You can “fast” something for 7 days or commit to making a permanent change:

  • Eliminate 7 convenience products that contribute to landfills/deforestation/pollution like paper towels, water bottles, plastic bags, paper plates.
  • Buy in bulk rather than individual packages.
  • Find out about recycling in your community and start!
  • Switch to reusable grocery shopping bags.
  • Cut down on your water and/or electricity consumption. (One way is to change your thermostat by a degree or two.)
  • Group your errands/plan ahead to save on gas.
  • This is not an easy topic for me. I love convenience and historically Christianity has not embraced this message. However, I want to be a good steward of God’s beautiful creation and I want my great grandchildren to enjoy it too.
  • Get a Kindle! If you’re an avid reader, go electronic and save some trees!

What about you? How do you feel about creation care? What do you think God would have you do to help?

 

Originally posted on Kathy Howard.

About Kathy Howard

Kathy Howard calls herself a “confused southerner.” Raised in Louisiana, she moved with her engineer husband around the U.S. and Canada. She says “pop” instead of “Coke” and “you guys” as often as “y’all.” But she’s still a southern girl at heart! Kathy encourages women to live an unshakeable faith by standing firm on our rock-solid God no matter life’s circumstances. Kathy, the author of eight books, including the new daily devotional “30 Days of Hope When Caring for Aging Parents,” has a Master’s in Christian Education. She is passionate about Bible study and discipleship and loves sharing at women’s events and retreats. Kathy is also a regular contributor to Crosswalk.com, Hello Mornings, Arise Daily, and more. Kathy and her “mostly retired” husband live in the Dallas/Ft Worth area near family. They have three married children, four grandsons, and three dogs – one of them on purpose. She provides free discipleship resources and blogs regularly at www.KathyHoward.org. Kathy also connects with women at Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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Battle Against Excess – Watch the Waste